Curcumin for arthritis: Does it really work?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint illness that’s the most typical sort of arthritis. Often, it happens amongst folks of superior age. However it could start in center age and even sooner, particularly if there’s been an harm to the joint.

Whereas there are therapies obtainable — train, braces or canes, lack of extra weight, numerous ache relievers and anti inflammatory medicines — these are not any cures, and not one of the therapies are predictably efficient. Actually, typically they don’t work in any respect, or assist solely just a little. Injected steroids or artificial lubricants will be tried as properly. When all else fails, joint alternative surgical procedure will be extremely efficient. Actually, about one million joint replacements (principally knees and hips) are carried out every year within the US.

So, it’s no shock that folks with osteoarthritis will attempt absolutely anything that appears fairly protected if it would present reduction. My sufferers typically ask about weight loss plan, together with anti-inflammatory meals, antioxidants, low-gluten diets, and lots of others. There’s little proof that the majority of those dietary approaches work. When there’s proof, it normally demonstrates no constant or clear profit.

Curcumin for osteoarthritis of the knee

A research revealed in BMC means that curcumin, a naturally occurring substance present in a typical spice, may assist ease osteoarthritis ache. Within the research, researchers enrolled 139 folks with signs of knee osteoarthritis. Their signs had been at the very least reasonably extreme and required remedy with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). For one month, they got the NSAID diclofenac (50 mg, twice day by day) or curcumin (500 mg, 3 times day by day).

Why curcumin? It’s a pure substance, discovered within the spice turmeric, that has anti-inflammatory results. Its use has been advocated for cardiovascular well being, arthritis, and a number of different situations. Nonetheless, well-designed research of its well being advantages are restricted.

Right here’s what this research discovered:

  • Each therapies relieved arthritis signs and helped to the same diploma: 94% of these taking curcumin and 97% of these taking diclofenac reported at the very least 50% enchancment.
  • Individuals reported fewer unwanted side effects with curcumin. For instance, not one of the research topics taking curcumin wanted remedy for abdomen bother, however 28% of these taking diclofenac wanted remedy.
  • These taking curcumin misplaced, on common, almost 2% of their physique weight in simply 4 weeks — that’s 3.5 kilos for a 175-pound individual.

Prepared to start out taking curcumin?

Not so quick. It’s uncommon {that a} single research can change follow in a single day, and this one isn’t any exception. A variety of components give me pause:

  • The research was small and solely lasted a month.
  • Solely osteoarthritis of the knee was studied. We should always not assume that different kinds of arthritis or that osteoarthritis of different joints would reply equally.
  • Curcumin was in contrast with just one potential dosage stage of diclofenac (not the best advisable dose). As well as, the diclofenac used on this research was uncoated (though there’s a coated formulation designed to be simpler on the abdomen). The outcomes of this research may need been completely different if one other NSAID or a special dose or formulation of diclofenac had been in contrast with curcumin.
  • The research was unblinded — that’s, research individuals and researchers knew who was getting curcumin and who was getting the NSAID. This could generally bias the outcomes by altering expectations of unwanted side effects or profit.
  • We don’t know the way properly curcumin would work, or if it might be protected, for the kinds of folks excluded from this research. For instance, this research enrolled adults ages 38 to 65 and excluded these with vital kidney or abdomen illness. For youthful or older folks, these with different medical issues, or these taking a number of medicines, the outcomes may need been completely different.
  • Over-the-counter dietary dietary supplements (“nutriceuticals”) are usually not examined or regulated the best way pharmaceuticals are. So, data relating to purity, power, and potential interplay with different medicines or ailments is usually restricted for therapies like curcumin. It’s price noting that reviews of lead contamination in turmeric have been lately revealed.

    Weight reduction as a facet impact of taking curcumin is perhaps an issue for individuals who are already lean.

The underside line

Research of this kind are vitally vital in making an attempt to know whether or not dietary modifications will be useful for arthritis. Whereas curcumin may be efficient for osteoarthritis of the knee, I’d wish to see extra and longer-term research in osteoarthritis and different kinds of joint illness, in addition to extra in depth testing of its security, earlier than recommending it.

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